Soul gardeners

Life is messy and not a 5 point plan! Jesus gave us wonderful metaphors to navigate the mess. We are an African couple committed to the Gardener. Our passion is tilling and working the soil of our lives and gardening with a community. We live in South Africa and we are praying for God's direction in our lives.


It is interesting how many times the word 'behold' appears in the Bible. Beholding something implies that I will make an effort to look at something and not allow myself to be distracted – to be in a state of holding. Speeding and beholding at the same time is impossible. The rhythms of my life will constitute my capability to be captivated by Jesus. So many times I don't behold him in the moment, I don't realize that He's working - I only realize it after the fact, when I reflect. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. When is the last time you Beheld Jesus in your life? Jesus is walking in our lives everyday! Through the people and circumstances - He is there. Behold the Lamb of God.


We are not home yet!

I'm engulfed with loneliness today, I miss something. I miss my friend Schalk, serving God in Africa. I miss Africa with its diversity and people, my parents and brothers and dogs. I want to eat some biltong and drink some Castle beer, i want to laugh and cry and play.

My yearning is deeper though. I miss Home. My citizenship is being challenged. My roots want to reach deeper than just this world, my soul touches and longs for something more, Someone. I want to be Home tonight and sit with my DAD my head on HIS shoulders, I want to hear HIS voice say : I LOVE YOU! I want to silence all the crappy voices telling me I'm not good enough, I want to exile them.
I yearn for a community defined by the rhythm of that Someone.
Echoing and resounding BELOVED.
I'm lonely and tired.
Jesus you are my SOMEONE.
Without you there's nothing.
You are my all and all.
I love you.


Main Entry: ab·strac·tion
Pronunciation: ab-'strak-sh&n, &b-
Function: noun
Date: 1549
1 a : the act or process of abstracting

Main Entry: 3ab·stract
Pronunciation: ab-'strakt, 'ab-", in sense 3 usually 'ab-"
Date: 1542
transitive senses
2 : to consider apart from application to or association with a particular instance
3 : to make an abstract of : SUMMARIZE
4 : to draw away the attention of

Abstraction to the Bible can be scary, to remove the truth of the Bible from the Truth - or to consider the words of the Word apart from Christ. Grace and the Law. Applying Scripture out of context - that's how a lot of ghastly things happen. A husband commanding sex on command. A father punishing his children without mercy. A church ostracizing a woman going through a divorce. A Christian thumping a neighbor with the Word and telling him god hates what he's doing.

Incarnation – the opposite of Abstraction. Jesus loving a prostitute, forgiving an adulterous woman, dialoguing with an abstractionist, bringing the words to its intended meaning. Jesus loving us! He is THE TRUTH. Truth as a person and not an abstract. Thank you Jesus, for being the truth, the way and life.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.John 1:17
Does your life reflect abstraction?
Or Incarnation?
Just asking.


Today I spent the day in Denver with my friends. We had a retreat day, just to be with Jesus. As we were driving back from Denver we decided that the conclusion of our day was : "No crap, just Jesus". Something Paul stated with more eloquence in Philippians 3:8. Howard Baker was our retreat guide and one of the questions to meditate on for the day was : What distorted images do you have of Jesus? After reflecting I sensed that I saw my vocation as the job of being a travel agent. Handing out brochures to spiritual destinations. I think my boss; Jesus is not allowing me to travel to the destinations I'm sending others to. This was my distortion. Jesus invited me to come and follow Him. I want to visit new spiritual capitals. Are you going to the places you're handing brochures out for? What distorted images do you have of Jesus?


The cross. Unrefined, unpresentable, unsuccessful and ugly. Embraced with agony, pain and anguish. That's what we are called to as Christians - taking up the cross - daily. I had coffee with a friend this morning - his mother is dying from cancer and he moved back to Colorado to be his mother's caretaker. Everyday for the last 8 months he sees his mother suffer, he said it's like someone torturing her. Jesus is ruining his life daily through this chapter. Ruined through Jesus - the life of the cross. Jesus consuming him, instead of him consuming from Jesus. I would rather be ruined by Jesus than by the world. When I loose my life, I gain it. Am I living with that perspective?


God spoke through Henry again:

Over the centuries the Church has done enough to make any critical person want to leave it. Its history of violent crusades, pogroms, power struggles, oppression, excommunications, executions, manipulation of people and ideas, and constantly recurring divisions is there for everyone to see and be appalled by.
Can we believe that this is the same Church that carries in its center the Word of God and the sacraments of God's healing love? Can we trust that in the midst of all its human brokenness the Church presents the broken body of Christ to the world as food for eternal life? Can we acknowledge that where sin is abundant grace is superabundant, and that where promises are broken over and again God's promise stands unshaken? To believe is to answer yes to these questions.


Fire. God is a consuming fire. Am I consumed? Who or what is burning in my soul? These are the questions I'm asking myself today. Living a suburban American life definitely doesn't help to spread a fire. The challenge is to keep my EDGE. George MacDonald offers a prayer: "Lord, In Thy Spirit's hurricane, strip me naked - clothe me then Thy way."

I found this excerpt on Nouwen's page:
The Two Sides of One Faith
Our faith in God who sent his Son to become God-with-us and who, with his Son, sent his Spirit to become God-within-us cannot be real without our faith in the Church. The Church is that unlikely body of people through whom God chooses to reveal God's love for us. Just as it seems unlikely to us that God chose to become human in a young girl living in a small, not very respected town in the Middle East nearly two thousand years ago, it seems unlikely that God chose to continue his work of salvation in a community of people constantly torn apart by arguments, prejudices, authority conflicts, and power games. Still, believing in Jesus and believing in the Church are two sides of one faith. It is unlikely but divine!


Working at church? Interesting term! How can you work at an oganism that's nature is community? The last few weeks have been very intense for me. A battle is raging in my soul. The battle between corporate Christianity and Sheep Christianity. Slickness versus messiness. The mirage of perfection or the stench of reality. Vision statements - executive meetings and Jesus. Entertainment. Services that goes on and on and on and then Jesus responding to His disciples request for instruction in prayer, a teaching that lasted for 1 minute and 15 seconds! A kingdom that cannot be shaken, and an empire of glittering dung. Why is it that my life gravitates towards that which is shallow and yuck?